Rise in car clocking threatens accurate car valuations

September 15, 2016

The UK government is set to investigate the scale of car clocking amid claims that millions of vehicles have been affected. Odometer correction devices are being used to wind back vehicle mileage by thousands of miles and it is a problem that is becoming more widespread every year, the industry claims. Correction devices are widely available online and some companies openly offer correction services. It is a criminal offence to knowingly sell a clocked car without disclosing the fact, but it is not illegal to alter the odometer’s mileage. According to estimates, there are now nearly two million vehicles on UK roads with false mileages. Two main factors are driving the growth in clocking. Firstly, criminals are using the devices to falsely increase a vehicle’s value. For example, according to Autovista Intelligence analysis, the average price of a Ford Focus diesel at three years/90,000kms in the UK during H1 2016 was £7,934. However, winding the clock back 30,000kms would increase the price by £748 to £8,682. Secondly, some customers avoid excess mileage charges on personal leasing and personal contract purchase agreements that have annual mileage limits by winding the odometer back before they return a vehicle. Danny Herbert, policy officer at the Department for Transport (DfT), told Fleet News that the Government will seek industry views on whether existing legislation is fit for purpose and then consider further action.

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